Circuitmaker

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Chuckt
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Circuitmaker

Post by Chuckt » Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:55 am

http://circuitmaker.com/

It says it is free and it is open source and found on Github:

https://github.com/cutnop/CircuitMaker

Have you used it? Do you like it? Is it good? Does it have any deficiencies or problems?
I also want to know if there are any comparisons between commercial software verses this open source program.

Garth
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Re: Circuitmaker

Post by Garth » Wed Oct 05, 2016 4:01 pm

It looks really powerful. Check out also the range of free EDA software in the Wikipedia article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compariso ... A_software .

My own CAD (Easy-PC Professional from Number One Systems in England) is so old it runs under DOS; but it gives me the tools and freedom to do things the software writers didn't anticipate any customers doing with it, since I'm resourceful and also know the gerber 274X standard so I can tweak a few things in the gerber files after they're formed. I did our company's most complex board ever in 1994, with 500 components on a 12-layer board, on a 16MHz '286 with 1MB (not GB) of RAM, and the program and the data all fit in memory at once.

Edit, 10/1/18: I'm putting an image of it from the gerber viewer here. Since it has been out of production for about ten years now, it shouldn't be any threat regarding competitors stealing secrets. It's mostly analog, so it had a lot of resistors and capacitors, plus a lot of diodes in the control circuits. There are 30 ICs there (mostly DIPs) and three relays and a DB-37 connector, and the resistors and diodes are mostly under the DIP ICs. There are almost no vias.

SymgerbvAllLayers.gif
SymgerbvAllLayers.gif (299.09 KiB) Viewed 2312 times

It's the middle board in this sandwich which fits into a box that's 4" x 5" x 1.75":

SymMainBox.jpg
SymMainBox.jpg (35.69 KiB) Viewed 2312 times

The densest thru-hole design I ever did achieved an average of 45 parts per square inch. (The one shows above is not quite that dense.) Today of course our boards are all surface-mount, except connectors that take a lot of force when things are plugged in or unplugged. <End of edit, 10/1/18>

At my last place of work (ending in 1992), we used OrCAD, and it had more bugs than an ant hill, and it also kept trying to second-guess what we were trying to do and telling us essentially, "You can't do that" since it didn't understand our unorthodox methods to get more on a board. I just wanted to yell at it, "Yes, I can, and I know what I'm doing, so just shut up and do it!" Easy-PC Pro doesn't breathe down my neck like that.

Gerber 274X wasn't out yet when this CAD came out, or even at the time of the last update, so I learned to convert the older 274D to 274X which is really quick to do by hand in a text editor for most layers after you have your templates made up.

So why do I stick with such an old one? It's partly that I don't want to re-make all my custom components for another CAD. The Circuit Maker page you linked to says it has hundreds of thousands of components. My came with loads (maybe thousands), but I re-made them to get better board density. I have the book "SMT High-Density Design & DFM" from SMT Plus, Inc. which we paid a hefty price for; but these people's ideas of high density is pretty lame IMO. Looking at the capabilities of our PCB suppliers and assemblers, I have done a lot of revising of the parts' footprints, and we have not had any production or reliability problems whatsoever.
http://WilsonMinesCo.com/ lots of 6502 resources

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brad
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Re: Circuitmaker

Post by brad » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:56 pm

The site looks quite good Chuck, in fact I had a browse and found a project which uses a PIC with the microchip HID bootloader - which is something I was speaking to bitfogav about a while ago which I'd like to implement with my projects.

Interesting read Garth - Great to see DOS programs still serving a purpose nicely!

Chuckt
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Re: Circuitmaker

Post by Chuckt » Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:38 pm

I guess my question is whether I should go with Circuitmaker or Diptrace.

Garth
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Re: Circuitmaker

Post by Garth » Thu Oct 06, 2016 5:14 am

Unless you can find someone who has used both (and preferably other CADs as well, to compare), you'll probably just have to make your best decision and go with it. At least if they're free, it will only cost time if it proves to have problems before you actually get a board made. I mentioned using OrCAD at my last place of work. This was the first CAD we had used, so we had no experience with any of them, and didn't know what potential problems lurked. The CAD market was new and there were lots of CADs coming on the market at the time, and we looked over all the literature (I don't remember if there were demos available yet), and couldn't tell that one was particularly better than another, so we figured that since OrCAD had been one of the first to market, they were probably ahead of the others in getting the bugs out. Boy were we wrong!
http://WilsonMinesCo.com/ lots of 6502 resources

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brad
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Re: Circuitmaker

Post by brad » Sat Oct 08, 2016 6:57 am

I've actually been looking at moving over from diptrace to kicad:

http://kicad-pcb.org/

It's free and open source for windows, linux and mac

Garth
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Re: Circuitmaker

Post by Garth » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:43 pm

brad wrote:
Sat Oct 08, 2016 6:57 am
I've actually been looking at moving over from diptrace to kicad:

http://kicad-pcb.org/

It's free and open source for windows, linux and mac
Brad, a friend of mine just asked tonight about KiCad so I wonder if you can give a review. I don't think he has ever used any CAD before.
http://WilsonMinesCo.com/ lots of 6502 resources

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brad
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Re: Circuitmaker

Post by brad » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:02 pm

I can't believe it's been two months since I logged in to the forum - sorry Garth!

To be honest I found kicad to be a little harder to use compared to diptrace and basically gave it a miss. I've been using diptrace for about 10 or 11 years now and have found it to be a fantastic program. It did cost me money since I have made PCB's for commercial purposes however it has been well worth it!

Garth
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Re: Circuitmaker

Post by Garth » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:37 am

I just got an email from Digi-Key saying they now had a free online symbol and footprint library for KiCad, at https://www.digikey.com/en/resources/de ... ools#kicad .

On a related note, I just finished my first dense design of parts on both sides. Up until now, I have sometimes put just a very few parts on the back; but this one has wall to wall parts across the back of the board too. It's a little more of a challenge.

In my first post in this topic (above), I mentioned a dense board with about 500 parts that I laid out on EacyPC Pro in 1994 on a 16MHz '286 with 1MB of RAM, and the program and it did not run out of memory. I'm editing that post putting an image of that up there.
http://WilsonMinesCo.com/ lots of 6502 resources

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